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c. 1969

Apollo astronauts in quarantine

Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins spent three weeks in isolation after their historic moon mission.

The world’s population can, it is said, be divided into introverts and extroverts. Introverts are characterized as primarily drawing their emotional sustenance from being alone, while extroverts are energized from being with other people. And depending on which side of that divide you fall, to be in isolation may either seem a relief, or pure torture.

24th July 1969: From left to right, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin Jnr, the crew of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing mission are subjected to a period of quarantine upon their return to earth. Through the window of their Mobile Quarantine Facility, they hold a conversation with President Richard Nixon (1913 – 1994)
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In either case, spare a thought for the astronauts of Apollo 11: Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. After the success of their mission to land on the moon, the men landed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There they were greeted by a swimmer who opened their landing module’s hatch and threw in special isolation clothing.

Man taking video with video recorder camera at mobile quarantine facility for Apollo 11 Moon Flight, 1969
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The three were then transferred to a Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) — basically a massive Airstream-esque trailer — on an aircraft carrier. The MFQ was so big, it had its own lounge and library, and could accommodate up to 100 people. In comparison to the landing module, the MQF was a palace.

Inside the mobile quarantine facility for Apollo 11, 1969
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Supported by a team of 20, the astronauts were visited by none other than President Nixon. Finally, having served three weeks in isolation, when no moon disease appeared, Collins, Aldrin and Armstrong were released onto Terra Firma.

Man checking blood pressure for Moon Flight mission, 1969
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Man climbing at the Apollo Command Module inside the Mobile Quarantine Facility,1969
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The three crew members of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar landing mission are greeted by their wives after their arrival at Ellington Air Force Base near Houston in Texas in a Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) earlier that day, 27th July 1969. From left to right, astronauts Neil A Armstrong, Edwin E ‘Buzz’ Aldrin Jr and Michael Collins and their wives (left to right) Pat Collins, Jan Armstrong and Joan Aldrin. The crew remained in the MQF until they arrived at the Crew Reception Area of the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL) at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). They will be released from quarantine on 11th August
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After Apollo 11 returned home, (left to right) Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, in mobile quarantine facility, received a visit from President Richard Nixon (July 1969)
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UNITED STATES – MAY 21: Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins are greeted by their wives aboard the USS Hornet. The astronauts are in a Mobile Quarantine Facility. Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 16th July 1969 and Neil Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second men to walk on the Moon on 20th July 1969. Command Module pilot Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. The astronauts returned to Earth on 24th July 1969.
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Overall of scene surrounding quarantined astronauts after splashdown of Apollo XI mission.
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Apollo 11 astronauts (R-L) Aldrin, Collins, & Armstrong peering out window of quarantine room aboard recovery ship Hornet following splashdown fr. historic moon mission.
Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images
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